Spicy Blackened Oasis
A ravine shoots south from the Tortilla Flat sign, just west of the tourist strip. From SR88 this mini etched canyon in the landscape goes up to Geronimo Head. Here we explore the lower ravine.
There's parking room for one, maybe two cars on the north shoulder of SR88. Don't do it or you'll likely get a $75 ticket. Instead hike over from the auxiliary lot southeast of Tortilla Flat. Immediately head into the ravine going south of the highway. No maintained trails exist on this adventure. There is a good use trail on the eastern bank. Not knowing this I forged up the ravine. Medium to small sized boulders are easily negotiated. Bushwhacking must appeal to those that apply. Boots and jeans are your only option for survival in this desert jungle.
After a short fifteen minutes of scrambling you are rewarded with a nice view of a tall dryfall. A few more paces bring you to a small cave on your right. The cave is small and nothing exciting. A bum with a keen alcoholic fetish appeared to be occupying the space. Tidy though, broom and all.
Back down in the ravine just up creek from the cave sits a beauty. A swimming hole appears to be probable. It's actually too small for swimming so let's not get excited. With bone-dry conditions I could only imagine water shooting down the waterslide.
Another fifteen minutes or so up the ravine is the real gem. The ravine turns into a mini boxed in slot. It's a short lived journey into the abyss. A sketchy finger grip dangle is necessary to reach the upper deck. It's debatable whether the view back down is worth the risk. If the creek were roaring you'd be washed down in a flash.
It's unlikely you'll ever want to take on this mini adventure. Back in January I viewed this intriguing area from above. Curiosity got the best of me. As mentioned earlier there is a use trail fairly high above the eastern bank. It's a bushwhack with many pricklies along the way. If you wish to explore further on up the ravine... the "right" side of the boxed in slot is your ticket. I didn't go further as this seemed to be the last hurrah from my photos looking down on the area.
Note: for details on the canyoneering version see Headdress Canyon
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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